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My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

 

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior Who drew me from the pit of suicide loss and remolded me to need Him for everything.

I love my husband of forty-six years, and who I’ve known since I was eleven when he took me on motorcycle rides with me sitting on the tank of the bike. And, yes, after we married, we rode together on his motorcycle for over thirty years.

I adore my thirteen grandchildren of age’s twenty-two to three, and my three children, of which two are still here on Earth.

The friends who did not leave after my son, Joshua’s, death by suicide, I’m so very grateful to them. And to the acquaintances who drew closer because of my loss.

Does being thankful for God’s beauty on Earth count? Yes, I love the mountains surrounding our tiny valley. The fox sparrows when they sing. They seem to sing at the perfect moments when I’m struggling with difficult people and or with my own sins. Fox sparrows in our part of the country are rare, and I don’t take them for granted.

My health is something I’m thankful for, since I’ve been ill for over five years. Two years ago, I even prayed for the Lord to take away some of my old injuries pain. He did. Right away. And I’m grateful. I had struggled with intense pain in both shoulders and my neck from a long ago car accident. After I began praying for God to heal me from some of my pain, I fell one evening outside with palms down and my neck jolted forward and backward. Even though I was extra sore the following morning, by the evening my neck and shoulder pain disappeared and has never returned as a constant pain.

God’s free adjustment and it cost me to only trust Him and to understand it had to come as His perfect will.

I’m thankful my two remaining children are in good health and they are still here and not gone to the Great Beyond like their brother. But, God taught me to not place anyone, including my children, above Him. This is a gift of extreme relief and abiding in Him.

My thankful list would not be complete without my acknowledgement of God’s Word. I’m grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins, and I look forward to Heaven with Him.

 

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Jean Ann Williams

Bio: Jean Ann Williams is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She writes regularly on Putting on the New blog and her own Love Truth blog. Jean Ann and her husband of forty-six years have thirteen grandchildren from their other two children. They live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, fruit orchard, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are practicing archery, hiking through the woods, and big game hunting with her bow.

See the Trailer: https://youtu.be/yvNDlNHEyok

God’s Mercies After Suicide:

What if your child shot himself while you were in the next room? What if you held him as his heart beat for the last time? What if Satan whispered in your ear, “Now where is your God?” Find out how Jean Ann Williams reached out with her spirit and mind to the one true Father. Discover how the Lord God answered her, and walked alongside her in the most difficult grieving journey of her life.

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

My Thankful List by Jean Ann Williams

Purchase links for God’s Mercies After Suicide

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Mercies-after-Suicide-Blessings/dp/0997701609/

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/6569595

Jean’s Blog: http://Joshua-mom.blogspot.com/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl

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Surrendering A Stormy Marriage by Kelly Klepfer

Posted by Julie on September 17, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, surrender |

 

It was a dark and stormy night. Not literally. The sky was clear. We could see for miles. However, the inside of the van was alive with lightning and thunder. As difficult as it is to admit, my husband and I were supposedly fighting for our family but there we were again trying to rip each other to shreds.

 

Let me back up and give some basic details of why we were there and why we were in such deep, deep trouble.  We were high school sweethearts and married shortly after I graduated. Being Baptists we had a lot of practice putting on nice and polite and hiding our real inner uglies. Right after marriage and our first baby our church split in a very public and vicious way. We fled church and in doing so we fled from Christ. Years later we were still reeling from the destruction. My husband developed an alcohol addiction. I developed the mentality of a victim and kept a long list of what he’d done to me ready for flinging at him in any situation that warranted it. My first crushed heart incident was when he chose alcohol over us. We survived through “Christian” counseling. God was nominally involved due to my refusal to give Him more than lip service. The second was when he chose another woman over alcohol. I found out on our anniversary while we were getting ready to go celebrate. She called me to tell me she was pregnant. Let’s just say that was an unforgettable date night.

This time we survived by immersing ourselves in church.

His little girl became involved in our family. We’d pick her up for a weekend a month then take her home and I’d share my concerns with him. I had a lot of material on my laundry list of unacceptable behaviors.

This hurricane of a night was no different. I pointed out some areas needing improvement. He defended himself. I got more and more agitated. Finally he waved both arms in the air and screamed at me. “I don’t understand what you are saying. I’m doing the best I can. It’s like you are speaking Chinese.”

I gave up and pulled into myself and began to pray. Actually. I was weeping and railing against God. Pointing at Him and mentioning what He was doing wrong. Why the heck wasn’t my husband a better husband? He owed me and our kids. And I was so angry at the idea that our marriage could end over this after it had survived alcoholism, no love, and an affair. I let God have it in tornadic blasts of rage and helplessness and hopelessness.

He let me vent. And then He spoke a quiet question into my heart. I have no doubt it was from God because this question was no where in me. He asked. “Why do you think you are right?”

Silence filled with sniffles and moans. No words came. I couldn’t answer that question. Not to the One who could see right through the lies. Coincidentally, our church was offering an inductive Bible study on marriage starting just days later. I told Him I’d go and I’d try being a wife the way He designed it.

I went alone. And 17 years later everything has changed. Including my husband. My marriage. Our children. Us. And though we’ve still had plenty of rain and some bits of hail and even some high water, our foundation stands. God did some remodeling and replaced the shifting sands with bedrock. Perfection? No. Nothing close. Surrender works. God works. His plan, His suggestions, He’s the answer to all of it.

Bio:

kellyKelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled DregsModern Day MishapsInstagram, Pinterest, FacebookGoodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

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To purchase Kelly and Michelle Griep’s book, Out of the Frying Pan, click here.

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Surrendering My Food Addiction by Janet Brown

Posted by Julie on September 1, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Surrendering My Food Addiction by Janet Brown

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

                                   Isaiah 61:1

“to proclaim liberty to the captives”

I fully understand that line, for I was bound, and the Lord set me free. Twenty years ago, I fought with white-knuckled grip to control my food addiction, but the more I struggled, the less peace I experienced. My life felt empty. I thought myself unfixable. I believed God couldn’t help.

During my adult life, I moved between binging and dieting. I lost weight through sheer determination and strength of character, but I longed for food treats that had become so meaningful to me like Reese’s candy, donuts, and fudge. I returned to regular eating. Satan’s chain tightened around my thought life. Depression permeated my belief system, and I dropped, once again, to the pit of food binges, along with occasional purges.

Death seemed my only viable option. A church service would be inspiring, drawing me close to the Lord. Again, I prayed, “Lord, take away my cravings for sweets. Please release my mind from food addiction.” I went from the altar to search for a new way to eat, a new secret potion, or support group, and went into diet and losing mode one more time.

In 1993, I reached bottom. I told God, “I can’t do it. I’m powerless over food. Unless you change me, I will keep gaining weight until I die.” I walked into a Christian Weight Controller meeting at church, weighing two hundred, fifty pounds and having no belief in my ability to change.

What a surprise!

That was exactly where God wanted me.

Moment by moment, I looked to God for direction on everything. I began many days telling Him, “I’m weak. Before I reach my job, I plan on stopping for a dozen donuts to eat this morning unless you stop me. It’s in Your hands. I can’t stop myself.”

Praise God! Many times I’ve made it to work without donuts. I don’t remember what changed. I just know God took control.

Food had become my idol.

I put God on the throne of my life.

I learned not to pray and then resume control. It doesn’t work.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32

To succeed at combating food addiction, or any other addiction, compulsion, or hang-up, we must surrender to God’s will, not ours.

My control brings captivity.

God’s control gives liberty.

 

 

WF_Front_FB_editedWorth Forgiving

Second in the Wharton Rock Series

Prejudice and mistrust hinders an ex-con, drug addict’s new beginning.

The state of Texas releases from prison Katie Smith. Full of optimism, she sets out to get a job, rent her own place, and make a home for her eight-year-old daughter, but Katie gave away her daughter three years ago. She could use a friend, but her past choices threaten to doom her to continued failure.

Larry Pullman graduated from seminary with high marks, but the fact that he has no wife makes finding a preaching job almost impossible. It doesn’t help that running from God as a teenager gave him a past that he can’t undo. All he needs is an ex-con, drug addict messing up his life, but then why did God lead him to her? Or did He?

Isn’t it enough that Lacey Chandler gave her sister’s daughter a home? Does that mean she has to clean up Katie’s messes forever?

Could it be that Katie is not Worth Forgiving?

PURCHASE WORTH FORGIVING HERE

owfi  Mothers Day 006_editedJanet K. Brown lives in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband, Charles.

     Worth Forgiving, an inspirational women’s fiction, is the second in her Wharton Rock series. Her only non-fiction is Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness.

Worth Forgiving marks Brown’s fourth book. Who knew she had a penchant for teens and ghosts? She released her debut novel, an inspirational young adult, Victoria and the Ghost, in July, 2012.

     Janet and her husband love to travel with their RV, work in their church, and visit their three daughters, two sons-in-law and three perfect grandchildren.

     Janet teaches workshops on writing, weight loss, and the historical settings of her teen books. The author uses her platform of recovering compulsive overeater to weave stories of hope for addiction, compulsion, or impossible situations.

Find her at http:/ /www.janetkbrown.com

on Twitter at https://twitter.com/janetkbrowntx

on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Janet-K-Brown-Author/143915285641707

E-mail:  Janet.hope@att.net

 

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The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

The Surrender of Life

By Ginger Solomon

 

Our society sees surrender as a dirty word.

But is it?

Imagine for one moment: What if Mary, the mother of Jesus, had been unwilling to surrender her body to the Holy Spirit and give birth to Jesus?

Not only would she have deprived the world of a Savior (well, to be honest, I think God would have chosen another maiden, but we’ll never know on this side of heaven), but she would have missed out on raising the Son of God. What about all those times she treasured a certain memory in her heart? She knew her baby was special. But what if she’d not surrendered?

What if Peter, James, John, and the others had refused to surrender their livelihood when Jesus called to them to come follow him? A great deal of our New Testament would have been written by someone else.

What if Jesus decided surrendering his life for ours was too much for the Father to ask? Can you say up-the-creek-without-a-paddle? Except it wouldn’t be a creek. It’d be a raging river, and we’d be in a baby float.

Let’s add one more what if to our surrender list. Let’s make it a little more recent.

What if Thomas Edison’s mother hadn’t surrendered her quiet time to teach him at home when he had trouble at school? The man had over 1,000 patents for his inventions. The light bulb, motion picture camera, and alkaline storage battery are among them. In addition, he started the first electric company, which later became the General Electric Corporation. (source: www.biography.com)

When we surrender our lives to God and believe in His Son, Jesus, we are giving up something, but we are gaining so much more.

So it was for Princess Anaya, my heroine, in my most recent release, Second Choice. The man she had chosen to be her husband disappeared, leaving a note with no clues as to the reason for his departure. Her wedding was scheduled to take place in three weeks. She’d dreamed of the life she’d spend with him for the last six months. And then nothing. Her plans collapsed around her. Her dreams slipped through her fingers. Her hopes for a bright future faded.

She had to surrender her expectations. It wasn’t easy, but what she gained was so much better than what she gave up. It just took her time to see it.

The end of the tunnel is not always visible while we’re going through it. We know there’s a light at the end, but we can’t see it. Surrender is that way as well. If we’re surrendering to something GOD wants for us or wants us to do, then we can be sure that what we’re gaining will be better than what we’re releasing—even if we can’t see it.

Ginger 7 - brightened_editedGinger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and sometimes cross-stitch), and is a fan of Once Upon a Time and Dr. Who.

Author Links:

Website

Inspy Romance Blog

Facebook Author Page

Twitter @GingerS219

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

 

Second Choice Blurb:

The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

The Surrender of Life by Ginger Solomon

Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.

 

Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.

 

But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.

 

BUY LINK:

Amazon Kobo Books iBooks Barnes and Noble

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Surrender to Prayer by Bruce Judisch

Being a seat-of-the–pants writer has its perks. Why? Because my characters are almost always several steps ahead of my keystrokes, often looking over their shoulders impatiently waiting for me to catch up. Little do they know the joke is on them. They don’t realize I’m writing into them my weaknesses—and, to be honest, also my strengths—just to see how they handle them in clutch situations. And I need to observe them from behind. If I outlined the story in advance, I would already know how they coped. So I would learn nothing from them. And very possibly, neither would my readers. Why? Because I would have contrived my lessons, not lived them and passed them on. Where’s the empathy in that?

Case in point. In my most recent novel, Quimby Pond, my heroine, Gwen Kelly, has lived her life in the shadow of God’s standards, but not in his love. She’s a “good person,” has an innate sense of what is “proper,” but remains tossed on the waves of human doubt as to why it’s proper. Her spirituality? Her childhood church experience? Here’s an excerpt from the book:

[Gwen’s] fondest recollections of Sunday mornings revolved not around church, but rather brunch at a local pancake house as a reward for not squirming too much during the boring services. Her success was usually gauged by the number of over-the-shoulder huffs from the dour Mrs. Olsen, who always seemed to select the pew directly in front of the Kellys. On a good morning, a steaming stack of blueberry pancakes, whipped cream, and warm maple syrup awaited, making Sundays bearable.

Excepting the fictitious Mrs. Olsen, this was largely my childhood church experience, and I bequeathed it to Gwen. How does she cope with this kind of a spiritual past in the midst of the clutch situations I foisted upon her in Quimby Pond? Her image of God and of communion with him—i.e., prayer—lacked understanding, substance, caring. How does one cope? How does one surrender to the love of God, not just perceive a notion of his standards? The story’s hero, Brent Newcomb, wondered the same thing. Here’s an exchange between Brent and Gwen:

As they neared the hospital, she cast a questioning glance at him. “You were praying last night, weren’t you? During the search.”

“I sure was.”

“Do you think it made any difference?”

“It made a difference to me.” He pulled into the hospital parking lot and into an empty slot. “And apparently to Hannah too. You realize that God answered the prayer through you, don’t you?”
She threw him a startled look. “What do you mean?”

He propped an elbow on the steering wheel and faced her. “It was your sudden idea to search near Quimby Pond, and that idea saved Hannah’s life. I’ve discovered that God is usually responsible for sudden ideas like that.”

She looked down again. “Do you pray a lot? I mean, you know, at regular times. Not only in emergencies.”

“Not as often as I should.” He offered a slight smile as he switched off the engine. “What’s your position on the subject?”

She shrugged and reached for her seatbelt buckle.

Will Gwen ever give in to the lure of prayer? If so, what will it take to bring her to the point of surrender? What does it take to bring any person to the point of “surrendering” to prayer, of recognizing that such communion yields solace to the person praying and joy to the One to whom the prayer is lifted. The answer to that question is different for every person.

Her lesson still teaches this author. And she did it all by herself.

Author Bio and photo

bruceBruce Judisch has been writing fiction for many years.  His first work, “A Prophet’s Tale,” is a two-part novelization of the story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah ben Amittai, comprising The Journey Begun and The Word Fulfilled. A third part, The Promised Kept, is under construction. More recently, he wrote two novels with complementary contemporary and historical storylines: Katia, a Cold War novel focusing on the fall of the Berlin Wall, and its sequel, For Maria, featuring the Kindertransport.

Bruce lives in Texas with his wife and high school sweetheart, Jeannie, and their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Charlie and Raleigh.  Bruce and Jeannie are the proud parents of three and grandparents of fourteen.

Book Cover and blurb

Surrendering to prayer is one of the plot questions in Bruce Judisch's Quimby Pond.

Surrendering to prayer is one of the plot questions in Bruce Judisch’s Quimby Pond.

Thursday, August 20, 1896, Marble Falls, Maine. A festively adorned bridal trunk arrives on the one o’clock train, but no newlyweds debark to claim it. Curious townspeople gather for the evening train, but again only to disappointment. Where was the happy couple? What became of the trunk? And what if it wasn’t a bridal trunk at all…?

Present Day:  Gwen Kelly comes to Marble Falls to escape a broken past, a past that revisits her when she begins to restore an antique trunk. A mysterious assailant targets her friends and fingers her as the only person who can stop him. Gwen is thrust into an awkward relationship with Officer Brent Newcomb as they race to stop the intruder from striking again. Could the trunk hold the key to this cloud of violence spreading over the peaceful Marble Falls region? If so, will they discover its secret in time?  If not, what have they stumbled into?

Purchase QUIMBY’S POND HERE

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A Lesson on Trust by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on March 24, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Have you ever felt like God forgot about you? Like when you’re caught in an impossible situation with nowhere to go, searching for the lifeline that never seems to come? Maybe your rope got stuck in the parcel post or passed through a few too many hands along the way. But it doesn’t matter. You’re in a bind and you need God. Now. But then, when you least expect it, God does show up, and contrary to your panicked thoughts, the world didn’t end. In fact, once the storm passes and you took a step back, you realized God had been there all the time. And He really did know what He was doing.

I’m always in a hurry, on constant overdrive. Not because I’m terribly ambitious, but because, sometimes, I struggle to let go of the reigns. I could rationalize this a million ways, but ultimately it comes down to lack of trust. In those moments when I fight against surrender, it’s like I forget that God is bigger than His creation, which includes my tiny little role in it.

This maybe be why I love the Bible passage about Martha and Lazarus.

In John chapter eleven, we are told that Martha’s brother is sick. And what did you do in first century Palestine when someone you loved fell ill? You sought out the Healer, of course. And I imagine if He was a close friend of the family, as Jesus was to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, you’d expect a rather quick response. But what does Jesus do when he learns of Lazarus’ illness? He tarried, on purpose. Didn’t He love Lazarus? Verses five and six say He did: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.”

When He finally arrives at Lazarus’ home in Bethany, it’s too late. Lazarus is dead. Martha is distraught, and even accusatory.

John 11:21 “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died.’”

Translation: God, You’re too late.

Lazarus had been dead for three days. Martha’s faith and hope had come and gone. She’d gone from fervent prayers to mourning.

Jesus’ response? “I’m bigger than that, Martha.”

John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life.”

You may be familiar with the rest of the story. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and God’s power was revealed. And I’m sure when it was done Martha could have kicked herself for her lack of faith. Just like I frequently kick myself for mine, but the account of Lazarus has a way of bringing me back to reality. The God that made me, that saved me, is bigger than anything I could face. And His timing is always perfect.

So what happens when God is late? Now that is a question without a logical answer, my friend. The more rational question would be, when is God late? And my response would be never, even if it appears things have regressed to the point of decay.

BCheadshot2013_editedJennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

 

Breaking Free:

Breaking Free, the latest from Jennifer Slattery.

Breaking Free, the latest from Jennifer Slattery.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.  Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

 

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here: http://newhopepublishers.com/2016/02/free-sample-of-breaking-free/

 

Buy it:

Christian Book Distributors: http://www.christianbook.com/breaking-free-a-comtemporary-romance-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694682/pd/694682?event=ESRCG

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-free-peter-maxwell-slattery/1119735612?ean=9781596694682

 

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Free-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694688/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Connect with Jennifer

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenSlatte

Twitter: @Jenslattery

See scene location pictures for Breaking Free on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jenslatte/breaking-free/



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